I recently had an interview on “The Jesse Lee Peterson Radio Show” to discuss my PolicyMic article, “Can Religion Ever Be Good for Women?” As someone who has transitioned from the Pentecostal faith, a branch of Evangelical Protestantism, there was an initial hesitation about appearing on Jesse’s show as he holds quite conservative views on religion and women. That said, I found the conversation engaging despite our differing opinions.
During the discussion, we briefly touched on my upcoming memoir on my transition from the Pentecostal faith and religious community. The aim of the memoir is to educate, empower, and enlighten people on the social and cultural implications of their belief system. Furthermore, it is meant to serve as a guiding tool for those who were discouraged to seek alternative spiritual paths, and prohibited from seeking alternative perspectives within their affiliated religion.
Chris Stedman, the memoir author of Faitheist, shares details of his transition from the Evangelical Christian church to identifying as a gay atheist. “Faitheist is a pejorative used by anti-theistic atheists to describe atheists who seek to associate with or accommodate theists.” Faitheist is an interesting concept as it collaborates with what is often viewed as the antagonist. Can the theist and atheist truly get along?
As an active advocate for an egalitarian system, one where differing views are embraced and collaboration is encouraged, it’s a difficult task to have such binary forces co-exist. Furthermore, the extremity of the religious system and an individual’s religiosity makes it a laborious mission to find common ground. Two factors that are vital components to this type of co-existence are compromise and sacrifice which brings to surface the flexibility of the religious parties. Which side is more willing to compromise their views and beliefs?
Within Faitheism, interfaith dialogue is utilized in order to increase acceptance of differing spiritual beliefs, not to combine them. The United States Institute of Peace has found that interfaith dialogue is important to religion and peace building. While this method may very well prove to be effective, religious hostility, violence, and discrimination persists.
During my interview on “The Jesse Lee Peterson Radio Show,” we were able to have a civilized conversation, but an increase in acceptance was not achieved as our views were vastly opposite. Although I encourage interfaith dialogue and religious peace building, additional methods need to be implemented in order to address such a complex social problem.
Implementing multiple methods that support a higher level of knowledge, questioning, and discourse will increase the probability of developing a solution to this intricate issue that spans society and religion.
What are your thoughts on Faitheism?
Feel free to comment on my radio show interview as well!